COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first round of the CCHA Playoffs has begun and the Ohio State Buckeyes gained a 1-0 in the first round of the best-of-three series as they defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3-1 in front of a crowd of 734 in the OSU Ice Arena Friday evening.
Ohio State entered Friday’s game as the No. 8 seed in the playoffs and Notre Dame as the No. 9 seed. Notre Dame is now forced to win two in a row to continue its season.
If you don’t play with desperation in a game like (tomorrow), you’ll never play with it, Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said.
It was a good effort, Ohio State coach John Markell said. I thought our guys competed hard tonight. I thought that (Ohio State goalie) Dusty (Carlson) came to play tonight and so did Notre Dame.
Carlson stopped all but one of his 35 shots faced. Fighting Irish goalie Mike Johnson saved 25-of-28 shots faced.
Ohio State’s lone senior Mathieu Picard had two goals in Friday’s contest which matched the two goals he had during the regular season. His first goal came 3:37 into the second period. The goal broke Ohio State’s scoreless streak of over 90 minutes.
A key moment in the game came late in the second period. As the Buckeyes’ nursed a 1-0 lead, Buckeyes’ defensemen Corey Toy and Chris Reed committed penalties 22 seconds apart which gave Notre Dame a 1:38 5-on-3. Forwards Ryan Thang and Kyle Palmieri had good chances but were stopped by Carlson.
The 5-on-3 was a turning point in the game in my estimation, Jackson said.
Notre Dame tied the game early in the third period as Richard Ryan scored on a shot from the point that was well screened by Patrick Gaul.
It was a big goal for our fourth line, Jackson said. To score a goal like that, I thought that would give us a lot of energy coming back from that. And then give Ohio State credit, they came back and responded from that When we tied it, it gave our team new life and we turn the puck over and allow them to score a few shifts later.
Ohio State’s Picard had the answer. Line mate Patrick Schafer had a well placed cross-crease pass that found Picard on Johnson’s stick side doorstep wide open. The Buckeyes’ third forward line of Schafer, Picard and Kyle Reed had a fantastic game with four points and a total of 12 shots on goal.
Played hard, killed penalties, and did a good job for us, Markell said of his third line. That is what you expect from upper classmen.
Both Pat (Schafer) and Kyle (Reed) are good down low and they were doing the work, Picard said, getting the puck tonight and they were fast tonight.
Buckeyes’ forward Zac Dalpe notched his team leading 20th goal with a breakaway chance that beat the glove of Johnson with 4:06 remaining in the game.
It was just a mistake by one of our forwards trying to make a play up the wall, Jackson said. You can’t carry the puck up the wall with your defensemen and turn the puck over. They are flat footed and to give a player of that caliber a breakaway, you’re going to put yourself in tough trouble.
I think that was more of insurance, Dalpe said of his goal. When it is 2-1 especially in the playoffs, you know the emotions are flying high a little bit. A bounce their way can change the game and it is nice to get the third goal so we can stay focused on our end a little more.
Notre Dame had a goal waved off in the final minute while on a power play with the goalie pulled for an extra-attacker. The goal was ruled knocked in with the hand of a Notre Dame forward.